5th Tradition of NA
(Basic Text Breakdown)

Posted Jul 3, 2022

Man holding up five fingers

Each group has but one primary purpose, to carry the message to the addict who still suffers.

The Tweleve Traditions are the guidelines for groups within the Narcotics Anonymous program.

Each tradition serves a specific purpose. Together these traditions work to ensure freedom for; and unity of the individual group in NA.

In this article, we are going to take a deeper look into Tradition 5 of Narcotics Anonymous.

5th Tradition of NA Breakdown

Tradition 5 seeks to ensure that all NA groups are united in sharing a common mission. That mission is to spread the message of recovery to addicts who still need help.

Having this shared mission keeps the focus of Narcotics Anonymous groups on the struggling addict. After all, that is what NA does; help addicts.

If NA groups did not have a primary purpose and were allowed to operate based on the whims of their leaders, they wouldn’t be Narcotics Anonymous anymore.

This tradition reminds us that the primary purpose of the NA group is to share RECOVERY with other addicts in need.

It doesn’t say anything about religion, financial, or legal advice. No, the message that we share is that of recovery from drug addiction.

It is a message of hope that we share with the struggling addict. It is a message that is dear to our hearts. When we recognize an addict is struggling, we can immediately relate.

Narcotics Anonymous gave us the free gift of recovery, and we’ve seen that we do recover. Now it is up to us and our NA groups to share that message with others.

Welcoming a newcomer to NA

Practicing the 5th Tradition of NA

It is important for us to keep our primary purpose in mind as operate in Narcotics Anonymous.

There are many ways that we can go about sharing the recovery message both as an individual and as a group in Narcotics Anonymous.

When an addict walks into their first NA meeting, they see what our recovery message looks like in practice.

The shares they hear will expose them to the way of life NA promotes; a life of recovery from drugs.

They will hear stories of sickness and desperation told by people that now have the gift of recovery, and they will get a first-hand look at the possibilities of recovery.

When we are outside of the group, we can still keep tradition 5 in mind.

If we encounter a struggling addict, we can offer them a message of hope. We can share some of our stories with them to show that recovery is possible.

We do not want to pressure anybody. Remember, our primary purpose is to share the message; that’s it.

We simply let them know that recovery is possible and there is a program that works.

Painted rock that says hope

Tradition 5 in My life

I was a toxic addict with no hope of getting clean when I discovered NA.

When I attended my first meeting, I heard the recovery message firsthand. I saw how these people who were like me had changed their lives. I wasn't sure how they had done it, but I wanted what they had. I kept going to meetings and learning more about recovery and NA.

When I had questions about recovery or the NA program, people were patient and helped me understand.

Now that I've had a few years of sobriety, I try to do for others what those kind people and the NA program did for me.

One of the best ways to pay it forward is by sharing the message of recovery with other struggling addicts.

I am frequently in touch with active addicts online and in real life.

Most of the addicts I talk to are feeling hopeless. They have been trapped in addiction for years and are looking for a way out.

By sharing my story and the message of recovery I can offer them an alternative to the life they are living.

I am careful not to preach or pressure anybody during these interactions. I simply share with them the gift that I was freely given.

Sharing the message of recovery is a huge part of my life. I want everybody out there who is struggling to know that there is hope.

Man sharing recovery message with three others

Tradition 5 and You

It doesn't matter how much clean time you have, you can help spread the message of NA.

Sharing at a meeting is a great way to practice the 5th tradition.

By opening up and talking about what you are going through, you are sharing insight into the recovery process.

You never know, there may be somebody in that meeting who needed to hear what you had to say.

Sponsorship is another way to help share the NA recovery message.

When you sponsor somebody, you are essentially sharing your gift of recovery with another person.

By acting as a recovery mentor, you can help somebody else become solid in their recovery.

That person will then share the recovery experience with someone else, and the cycle continues.

As long as you keep your focus on spreading the recovery message when you are trying to help another addict, you will do just fine.

Woman sharing NA message with addict


If it wasn't for NA my sobriety would not be what it is today.

I was lucky enough to have a group that shared the message of recovery with me in a way that wasn't abrasive or intimidating.

I saw what these people had, how they had changed their lives, and I wanted that for myself.

Thanks to the 5th Tradition of NA, groups in Narcotics Anonymous focus on helping addicts like myself by sharing the message of hope in recovery.

If you enjoyed this article, don't forget to check out the 12 Traditions of NA to learn more about Narcotics Anonymous.

Aritcle by Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a web developer and recovering drug addict. By sharing his experience in drug addiction and recovery, he hopes to help families who have been impacted by this disease.

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